LSU gymnastics team No. 1 in GymInfo rankings _lowres

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- LSU's Jessie Jordan performs on the balance beam during the meet between No. 3 LSU and No. 7 Alabama in January.

The LSU gymnastics team has been rewarded for its consistency through the first seven weeks of the season with a No. 1 national ranking, according to the first regional qualifying score (RQS) rankings released Monday.

LSU, which dropped a 198.125-197.625 decision at Florida on Friday night, sits atop the GymInfo national rankings with a 197.470 RQS with only three regular-season meets remaining. The last time the Tigers were No. 1 in the nation was on March 14, 2005.

The 197.470 is the highest RQS in school history, surpassing the previous best of 197.400 in the final rankings of the 2004 season.

Until now, the rankings had been determined by a team’s season average. But the rankings for the rest of the season will be based on RQS, which is derived from a team’s top six scores — of which three must be from road meets or neutral sites — minus the highest score. The remaining five scores are averaged to determine the RQS.

That means LSU’s season-high and school-record 197.875 score at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 15 wasn’t counted, leaving the Tigers with scores of 197.650 (at Oklahoma), 197.650 (Alabama), 197.625 (at Florida), 197.225 (at Arkansas) and 197.200 (Centenary).

Three of their five scores that count have come on the road and coach D-D Breaux’s team has topped the 197.000 mark seven times in eight competitions overall.

Led by a trio of gymnasts who lead the nation in individual events, the Tigers have posted the second-, third- and fourth-highest scores away from home in the nation this season — at the Metroplex Challenge (197.875), at Oklahoma (197.650) and at Florida (197.625).

Oklahoma, which was beaten by LSU in Norman, Okla., on Feb. 9 before topping the Tigers six days later at the Metroplex, ranks second with a 197.405 RQS and Florida is third at 197.365.

Oklahoma and Florida were 1-2 in last week’s rankings when they were determined by seasonal average. Florida is the reigning NCAA champion.

“We’ve been No. 1 before, but not with the same perception that we’re a really, really good team,” said Breaux, whose team was ranked No. 3 last week based on its average score for the season. “We’ve beaten some good teams and what has gotten us this ranking is our regional qualifying score, which shows a lot of consistency.”

“We were so excited ... we had a group message (going) and we were was going crazy because we were all so excited,” said Rheagan Courville, who leads the nation in the all-around. “We were really excited to get back in the gym (for practice on Monday) to work towards what we want because it’s really happening. When we saw it online, we were all just going back and forth in our messaging. ... We were really excited.”

In team event rankings, LSU (7-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) leads the nation on vault and floor with RQSs of 49.500 and 49.460, respectively, and the Tigers are third on beam (49.240) and fifth on bars (49.290).

Individually, Courville has a 39.595 RQS to lead the all-around, while Sarie Morrison is No. 1 on bars with a 9.935 RQS and Jessie Jordan tops the beam with a 9.915 RQS.

Lloimincia Hall is ranked second nationally on floor with a 9.945 RQS, while Courville is right behind Jordan at No. 2 on beam with a 9.90. Jordan ranks sixth in the all-around with a 39.465.

After being on the road for four weeks, LSU will host Missouri in an SEC matchup on Friday at 7 p.m. It’ll be the first of three consecutive home meets to conclude the regular season as the Tigers will take on North Carolina State on March 7 and Kentucky on March 14 before the SEC Championships on March 22.

GymInfo Top 25 Rankings

(Regional Qualifying Score in parentheses)

1. LSU, 197.470

2. Oklahoma, 197.405

3. Florida, 197.365

4. Alabama, 197.140

5. Utah, 197.015

6. Georgia, 196.975

7. Nebraska, 196.630

8. Michigan, 196.595

9. UCLA, 196.530

10. Stanford, 196.465

11. Auburn, 196.335

12. Minnesota, 196.155

13. Arkansas, 196.130

14. Oregon State, 196.075

15. Illinois, 196.065

16. Central Michigan, 196.030

17. Boise State, 195.865

18. Penn State, 195.795

19. California, 195.650

20. Arizona, 195.615

21. Denver, 195.465

22. Ohio State, 195.355

23. Kent State, 195.160

24. Kentucky, 195.130

25. Southern Utah, 195.105

LSU Individuals in National Rankings

(AA — all-around; BB — balance beam, VT — vault, UB — uneven bars, FX — floor exercise)

Rheagan Courville — AA (1), BB (2), VT (5), FX (7), UB (10)

Ashleigh Gnat — VT (20)

Lloimincia Hall — FX (2)

Jessie Jordan — BB (1), AA (6), VT (16)

Sarie Morrison — UB (1), VT (6)

Britney Ranzy — UB (18)

Jessica Savona — FX (14)